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27
OCT

The NHS

The NHS and the 'sick note': Laurie Taylor talks to Gareth Millward, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Odense, and author of a new study which explores the history of the British welfare state via the story of the ‘sick note’. It turns out that the question of ‘who is really sick? was never straightforward. At various times, it was understood that a signed note from a doctor was not enough to 'prove' whether someone was really sick, yet with no better alternative on offer, the sick note survived in practice and in the popular imagination - just like the welfare state itself.

They’re joined by Sally Sheard, Professor of History at the University of Liverpool, who charts the cultural history and changing understandings of healthcare and the NHS in Britain.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
19
OCT

Protests

Protests: from Occupy to MeToo and the current situation in Iran. Laurie Taylor is joined by Sara Burke, Senior Policy Analyst at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung political foundation in New York, and co-author of a recent study which analyses the myriad protests which have shaken the world since 2010. She explores their main causes, which include the perceived failures of democracies, as well as the oppression of women and economic inequality. Which protests are likeliest to achieve success and how do we measure success, in the first place?

They're joined by Maryam Alemzadeh, Associate Professor in the History and Politics of Iran at the University of Oxford, who discusses the characteristics and trajectory of the women-led protests in Iran.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
12
OCT

Gender and Alcohol

Gender and Alcohol: Laurie Taylor talks to Thomas Thurnell-Read, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Loughborough University, about the masculine domain of craft drinks, an area of the alcohol industry associated with liberal and progressive values but where assumptions about tastes are still informed by gender stereotypes, the marketing of products may draw heavily on sexist imagery and men are seen as the gatekeepers of expertise.

They’re joined by Kath Hennell, Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies, who explores the key ingredients of a 'proper night out' for young women and men. What are the hidden, gendered rules which inform a ritual involving extreme intoxication?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
05
OCT

Futilitarianism - Extreme Pessimists

Futilitarianism & Extreme Pessimists: Laurie Taylor talks to Neil Vallelly, Researcher at Economic and Social Research Aotearoa (ESRA) at the University of Otago, New Zealand about a new study which argues that the current moment is characterised by feelings of futility and uselessness. If maximising utility leads to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people, as utilitarianism has always proposed, then why is it that as many of us currently maximise our utility—by working endlessly, undertaking further education and relentlessly marketing ourselves—we are met with the steady worsening of collective social and economic conditions? They're joined by Monika Mühlböck, Visiting Professor in Political Science at the University of Vienna whose research finds that expected downward mobility is impacting the political attitudes & voting behaviour of young people. Drawing on data from a survey among young adults aged 18–35 in eleven European countries, she asks to what extent that young adults who expect to do worse than their parents in the future are more likely to locate themselves at the extreme ends of the ideological scale.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
28
SEP

Rules and Order

Rules & Order: Laurie Taylor talks to Tim Newburn, Professor of Criminology and Social Policy at the LSE, about the social history of ‘orderly Britain’ – the way in which we’ve resolved everyday problems, from dog fouling to smoking and queuing. They’re joined by Lorraine Daston, Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, who traces the development of rules in the Western tradition, ones which have set out work hours, dictated how we set the table, told us whether to offer an extended hand or cheek in greeting, and organised the rituals of life. Why do we need such rules and could we live without them?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
21
SEP

Gentrification revisited

Gentrification revisited: Laurie Taylor talks to Leslie Kern, Associate Professor of Geography and Environment at Mount Allison University, Canada and author of a new study unpacking the meaning and impact of gentrification six decades after the term was first coined. She travelled from Toronto to New York, London, Paris and San Francisco, scrutinising the myth and reality that surround this highly contested phenomenon. Beyond the yoga studio, farmer's market and retro cafe, she argues that this is not a 'natural' process, but one which impacts the most vulnerable.

They’re joined by Dr Charmaine Brown, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Education and Cultural Studies at the University of Greenwich, whose research in Peckham, South East London, finds contrasting perspectives amongst different residents. Beautiful shop fronts, fewer police sirens and new street furniture appeal to incomers but Dr Brown sees a loss of social capital, opportunity and support for the original mainly Black communities.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
14
SEP

The Sea

The Sea – Laurie Taylor explores the privatisation of our oceans and the threat of plastic pollution. He gets into deep waters with Guy Standing, Professorial Research Associate at SOAS University of London, and author of new study which argues that exploitation and extraction now drive all aspects of the ocean economy, destroying communities, intensifying inequalities, and driving fish populations and other ocean life towards extinction. How can we rescue the economy of the sea? Alice Mah, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick discusses her recent work on the escalating plastics crisis. Even as public outrage has been prompted by viral imagines of choking marine wildlife, the demand for plastics continues to rise. Is it unstoppable?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
07
SEP

Survival of the city

Survival of the City: Laurie Taylor talks to Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University and author of a study examining the future of urban life at a time when the pandemic has exposed failures of governance. Whilst cities have been engines for creativity and wealth, they have also, of late, exposed deep inequities in health care and education and advances in technology mean many can opt out of city life as never before. So are we moving to a post urban world? Or will the city continue to thrive and re-invent itself?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
15
JUN

Package holidays and 'authentic' travel

Package holidays and ‘authentic’ travel: Michael John Law, retired research fellow in History at the University of Westminster, investigates the origin of budget tourism and how the package deal opened up a previously unaffordable world to working class holidaymakers. Also, Kaylan Schwarz, assistant professor in the School of Liberal Education at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, explores the experience of international volunteers who insist on experiencing ‘authenticity’ and claim superiority to every day tourists.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
08
JUN

Shopping

Shopping: Laurie Taylor talks to Rachel Bowlby, Professor of Comparative Literature at University College London, about the history of shops & shopping, from pedlars to chain stores, markets to home delivery. Shops have occupied radically different places in political arguments and in our everyday lives, over time. They are sites of purchase but also of community. What’s their future in the age of Covid? Also, Robin Sheriff, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Hampshire, explores young American women's dreams of shopping. What can dreams tell us about cultural change and consumption?

Producer: Jayne Egerton
01
JUN

Ballroom dancing

Ballroom dancing: Laurie Taylor explores its social history and sexual politics with Hilary French, Professor of Design Studies at Bath Spa University and author of a new book which charts the evolution of a form of dance which originated in upper class, private balls but became a mass, working class pastime in the early 20th century. From Hollywood movies to Mecca dance halls. What explains its rise and fall and rise again, in the current moment? They're joined by Vicki Harman, Reader in Sociology at University of Surrey, who unpacks the intriguing appeal of ballroom in the light of changing gender norms which question the notion that a man should 'lead'.

Producer: Jayne Egerton
25
MAY

Wealth - Plutocratic London

Plutocratic London and dynastic wealth. Caroline Knowles, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, takes Laurie Taylor on a tour of plutocratic London, a city with more resident billionaires than New York, Hong Kong or Moscow. How have the fabulously rich re-made London in their own image and what is the cost to ordinary Londoners? They’re joined by Katie Higgins, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Sociology of Elites at the University of Oxford, and author of a study exploring the inheritance practices of the ultra wealthy. How do they maintain a belief in the value of work whilst preserving inheritance for the generation to come?

Producer: Jayne Egerton

83 episodes

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